I am from the small town of Slaughter, Louisiana. I pursued my artistic interest at Louisiana State University, and achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art, in the school of Graphic Design. While at LSU, I was employed in their in-house design center doing campus event design/artwork. While in college, I also worked in Betts Fine Art Gallery of Baton Rouge, where I learned museum quality custom framing, photo/canvas printing, and canvas stretching. After graduation I worked as a graphic designer and administrator for BIC magazine of Baton Rouge for 6 years, designing advertisements for Louisiana commercial industry, before moving on to sell my own artwork full-time.
In March 2006, I began truly pursuing my passion by selling my art at the French Market in New Orleans, as well as at other art festivals and exhibitions. In 2011 The ZULU Social Aid and Pleasure club selected my original design through a heavily juried process for their official Mardi Gras poster; it will be a celebrated collectible piece of New Orleans history.
Since I first started selling my art in New Orleans 10 years ago, I would go to the gazebo at Audubon Park by the pond to begin laying out large drawings. It's nice to be around all of the greenery, water, and a little wildlife... and it's right down the street. Normally there are not too many people on weekdays and I'm all by myself.
Jon Guillaume is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Freret area.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words. Detailed, Surreal, Dynamic
Describe yourself in one word. Scrupulous
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work? I've been living in the Freret Street Neighborhood for almost 5 years now. It's amazing to see the transformation of the blighted homes and businesses into the bustling hub of the city with new restaurants, night clubs, and homes. It's reflective of the progress of the whole city. The positive changes here keep me excited to create work in such a fruitful, fast-paced environment.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece? Once I start a piece and I have the framework laid out of the basic line-work, I can work on it anywhere with 1000 people watching and be very comfortable. But when I'm in the conceptual stage, I'm usually by myself with some good music to help my mind travel without interruption. I'll think about a piece weeks, months, or years sometimes before I get started on the first line. My goal is to make every piece extremely unique and innovative and to be sure it's the first time it has been seen.
Where do you draw inspiration? Definitely music... I can pull inspiration from most genres, some more than others of course. I really have always enjoyed drawing while listening to electronic music (without lyrics it "fits" more to what I'm working on, like an aerobic routine) and most forms of rock (big Led Zeppelin fan). When I was younger, movies, cartoons and video games had big influences on me. Details of characters and settings from Jim Henson, Looney Tunes and Steven Spielberg have always stuck in my head and, sometimes, I think "guide me" when I'm putting something together.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus? Of course Dali, but also HR Giger and MC Escher. The level of concept and execution by all three of these artists has always been something that has greatly impacted the way I create a drawing. I've always been a big fan of surrealistic and fantasy-detailed art. I'm also a big fan of the old Dutch Baroque artists, like Jan Vermeer, and their portrayals of dark interiors with a bright window and a single person. I like anything detailed that keeps you looking.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work? I have such a wide range of style with my illustration it really depends on the piece. Some of my drawings would reflect a more heavy metal/hard rock feel because of how turbulent and chaotic they are. Some of the more simple black and white traditional pieces would have a jazzy/blues feel. And some of the funkier "left field" pieces would be more of a groove/funk feel.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art? Usually trying to perfect my chess game. It's a horrible addiction that I can't seem to kick. I love living in New Orleans, there's always fun at your fingertips, but I really enjoy being in nature if at all possible. I'm a country boy and I feel most relaxed when I'm away from vast amounts of concrete. I love hiking, camping, skiing, and most things outdoors.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year? I love October in Louisiana. It's brutally hot here for quite some time in the summer, and when the middle of October comes, the heat usually starts to break. And also Halloween is an amazing holiday in New Orleans. I really love to see the crowd and costumes it brings out. I can't imagine any city doing it better than we do.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact. I have an identical "mirror" twin. We are identical but I write/draw with my left hand, and him with his right. I've always been more interested in art and illustration, and he's always had a much better head for math. He is actually an estimator for a construction company in New Orleans.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
I have work in the Adorn Gallery at 612 Royal Street of New Orleans.
Besides displaying at French Market of New Orleans most weekends, I regularly attend and exhibit at about 10 other art festivals and fine art shows a year. These festivals include Festival International (Lafayette, LA), Shrimp and Petroleum Festival (Morgan City, LA), Voodoo Festival (New Orleans, LA), Red River Revel (Shreveport, LA), Peter Anderson (Ocean Springs, MS), Fairhope Art Fest (Fairhope, AL), Festival Acadien (Lafayette, LA), Wells Street Art Festival (Chicago, IL), and Mudbug Madness (Shreveport, LA)